A Look Into the Future of Health Care

Scott Brown gives Republicans enough votes to filibuster.With Scott Brown giving Republicans their 41st member, the health care reform that was close to passing Congress has hit a major roadblock. Now, anything that comes out of the conference committee between the House and Senate would hit a GOP filibuster in the upper chamber. Meanwhile, Congress and the White House have been silent on what their next course of action will be. They are debating a few options.

First, the House could pass the Senate version of the bill. Since both chambers would have passed the same bill, it would go right to President Obama’s desk to sign. However, Speaker Pelosi says she doesn’t have the votes to pass that through the Senate. It would also be political suicide, as seen in polls and the Massachusetts election.

Or, Congress could break up the large health care bill and pass small initiatives that most people agree with. For instance, increasing portability by allowing customers to buy insurance across state lines would almost certainly pass. Outlawing caps on benefits, reforming the high-risk pools, enacting tort reform, preventing insurers from canceling policies, and pooling small businesses together would go a long way in lowering costs for all Americans, thus helping the uninsured obtain health care.

Either way, without a super majority in the Senate, Democrats will be forced to negotiate with Republicans. Whether or not they will do that is another story. Democrats have a diverse caucus, from socialists to liberals to more moderates. As we’ve seen, it is hard to compromise with all these factions. However, with 59 votes Democrats need only find one of the Maine Senators to vote with them to pass their legislation.

Thank You, Senator Brown!

Massachusetts rains on the agenda of DemocratsWhen Massachusetts elected Scott Brown to be their Senator, President Obama’s agenda hit a nice little road block. The Democrats lost their 60 vote super majority in the Senate, which will allow a Republican filibuster on any piece of legislation that Republicans unite against. However, the Massachusetts special election also sent a subtle message to some House Democrats.

At the moment there are 52 members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of Democrats that aren’t on the ultra-Left. There are even more reps that come from traditionally conservative districts who rode the momentum of the Obama ticket into Capitol Hill. With Senator Brown being elected in blue Massachusetts, it sends a message to Dems from the South and Midwest. With the threat of not being reelected, these Democrats will be much more cautious with how they vote, especially in an election year.

Of the 33 seats up for election in the Senate, there are about 4-7 seats that could turn Republican.

– North Dakota seems to be the safest seat to change, as popular Governor John Hoeven leads by double digits in polls.

– Delaware will have a special election to fill out the remainder of Joe Biden’s former seat. Former Governor Mike Castle leads potential candidate Beau Biden, the Vice President’s son, by a handful of points.

– Arkansas seems to be trending Republican. John McCain won the state with 59% and incumbent Blanche Lincoln has drawn criticism for opposing the Stupak amendment that would eliminate federal funding for abortions, and endorsing the cap and trade bill.

– Nevada is an interesting race. Incumbent Majority Leader Harry Reid is seeking reelection despite low approval ratings. With the way health care is going, Republicans are hoping Harry Reid becomes the next Tom Daschle, the last Majority leader who lost reelection.

– Colorado, Illinois, and Pennsylvania are toss ups at the moment, but would take a great campaign for Republicans to turn these States.

In the House, all the seats are up for reelection. Currently, the Democrats have 39 seats more than the 218 needed to have a majority. Before the Massachusetts election, many experts believed Republicans would gain some seats, but not take back control of the House. However, since Brown won in liberal Mass., Republicans and experts believe there is a chance to regain control. However, incumbents have a 90% reelection percentage and it would take some great work to regain at least 40 seats.